eli5- “inner” voice


Okay so if only certain individuals have an “inner” voice. How do the ones that dont read slightly or to themselves. Please explain below!?

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Suppose you look at a sign with stick figures on it, male and female (identified by a dress) separated by a vertical line. What does that sign convey to you? Most likely you will understand that to indicate there is a public bathroom. But you don’t need to sub-vocalize that meaning, you don’t mutter to yourself or have a little voice in your head “That sign means bathroom…” You just connect the symbol directly to meaning in your head.

The *vast majority* of your thinking happens this way even for people with an “inner voice”. If you stub your toe you don’t need to think the situation in the context of a language in order to process the sensation! Have you ever been unable to put your thoughts or feelings into words? Unable to properly describe something you saw or imagined? That kind of thing wouldn’t be possible if an “inner voice” needed to monologue something for you to think.